Fuel Efficiency – How to Get the Most Out of Your Car
Owning a car is nothing short of essential for many families across the country, with recent statistics showing that just one in five households are without a car. But car ownership has, unavoidably, gotten more expensive for the average household.
The cost-of-living crisis is not news for many of us in the UK, and indeed many of us have already felt the bite – whether through energy bills, at the supermarket, or, pressingly, at the fuel pump. Saving fuel is essential for numerous reasons, including environmental concerns, but our wallets are major motivators. How, then, can you get the most out of your car with regard to fuel efficiency?
An essential part of vehicle ownership outside of fuel efficiency concerns is regular maintenance – but keeping up on service checks outside your annual MOT can have positive knock-on effects for fuel economy, particularly where older parts are causing unnecessary wear or resistance against the operation of the engine.
Vehicle maintenance is an especially important consideration for used cars that may be cheap and reliable at first purchase, but which will require greater investment and engagement over time than newer vehicles. Regardless the state of the car, some wear will already be extant to a used vehicle, and could be contributing to reduced fuel economy without a full look-over.
Of course, the buck does not stop with your local car mechanic. Fuel economy is not merely a matter of condition, but also one of driving skill – and, more importantly, habit. How you drive can have a dramatic impact on the amount of fuel you use for a given journey, and moderating your driving habits can result in an improved cost-per-mile as a result.
For example, those with an itchy accelerator-foot will burn more fuel spinning tyres at traffic lights than those content with easing up to speed. Likewise, braking hard into corners and accelerating fast out of them equate to more fuel usage than coasting into and out of corners.
On top of regular service checks, in-situ maintenance by you the driver can make a great deal of difference regarding fuel economy. One particularly important iteration of this relates to your tyres; not only can the state of their treads affect fuel economy when driving, but so too can their pressure levels. The PSI of each tyre informs how it interacts with the road; a lower PSI means more of the tyre’s rubber contacts the road, while a higher PSI means that less of the tyre touches the road.
Too low a PSI and the tyres introduce additional road resistance, requiring more work from the car to accelerate and round corners. Too high a PSI and the car’s traction is compromised, leading to slippage and tyre squeal – in turn reducing fuel economy again. As such, regular checks of your tyre pressure can help you keep them at optimal levels, ensuring your fuel economy is the best it can be. This principle can be extrapolated outwards to vehicle fluids like oil and brake fluid.